My Author Life, Depression, and Where I Go From Here (with one-month update)

** This is my own personal journey. I’m being as open as possible with my current situation and just because my depression looks one way doesn’t mean that everyone will have the same experiences. This is just how my depression and the dark thoughts that follow manifest. Everyone is different, every form of depression should be taken seriously. And if you need someone to talk to please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 **

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P.S. This is a long post. A very, very long post. I apologize ahead of time.

I’ve suffered from depression all of my life, from the time I was very little, all the way through high school where it became exponentially worse, and into adulthood…Here I thought after all these years, some really rough years, I had it all figured out. I know the cognitive behavioral tips and tricks, I have the tools (as my therapists have told me time and time again), and yet that familiar old darkness started creeping back in around January of this year. At Christmas time I was fine, I was excited about the new year and looking forward to all the stuff I was going to accomplish in 2018. Needless to say, it didn’t happen. This wasn’t my year, just like the years before. I failed. But this time something was different.

I didn’t like me anymore. It was a small loathing at first. Just nitpicking myself slowly, quietly. And then one by one bricks started falling on my head that just re-affirmed to myself of what a loser I really was. I started to pull back, I stopped writing, I started sleeping more, my eating habits became very disordered. But I pushed it all aside and told myself “I’m fine” “It’s the weather” “It’s just stress” “I’m just a moody bitch”.

I know what to do if my depression gets bad, I know to talk to someone about it and to ask for help, but something inside me didn’t want to ask for help this time. Maybe I was tired of asking, maybe I wanted someone to see that I was drowning in this fucking world and have them reach out and ask “Hey, are you doing okay?”. But no one asked. And it’s not their job to be concerned, I fully recognize and acknowledge that. But each hit I took knocked me a little further and further down the ladder and I was tired of asking for help.

In June I fell and potentially broke my wrist, which has made writing/typing anything damn near impossible and dictation just hasn’t worked out for me. I was supposed to go in for a follow-up x-ray to see if it was broken or not, but in my state of self-loathing, lack of self-care, and generally not caring about anything I decided to not go and just deal with the injury on my own. A few weeks had to pass to see if a fracture would show up later, but by that point of being in a brace for three weeks, I didn’t care if it was broken because, in my dark mind, it didn’t matter, nothing was going to get better. But I still couldn’t write, at least not without pain or going really slow, that was yet another hit.

Then I started to really resent certain things around me. Little things about being an author. The fact that I couldn’t write with my wrist and I definitely was going to miss the rest of my 2018 deadlines. The elitist crowd that has formed in the wake of the whole copyright disaster, the Mean girls crowd who only wants to help other “successful” authors. And then there’s the influx of “Pay Me $$$ and I’ll make you a six-figure author club”, some even give you a payment plan. Huzzah…but the payment plan will take you 5 years to pay off, so strike that off the list of things I could do to help become “successful”.

Those things started to grind on me. Scammers, copyrights, mean girls, the whole business started to feel like yet another Ellora’s Cave shit storm brewing and I started to not want to be a part of it. But the straws really began to bend when I was being booted from marketing groups because of purging, not being successful enough, or being too quiet (but with my depression worsening I didn’t want to be talkative) and I do understand their decisions, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t hit me hard. And it wasn’t just one group. I am in groups to learn so I can become successful, but in this new era, only the successful deserve help, or so it seems, judging by my personal experience with Facebook groups. Self-doubt and self-loathing started creeping in. And I found myself questioning where I belong in the writing community.

Then came the straw the broke the camel’s back…and it really wasn’t even a big deal. It was an Instagram thing, something small and trivial but it hit at just the wrong time and the entire bottom of my world fell away. I was left wondering “well, why are you even bothering to stick around here?” “you aren’t welcome, you aren’t a part of this, you try to make friends, you put trust in people who say they know what they are doing and look where it gets you?” “you should quit” “you are a loser”.

And at that moment I decided I was done. Done being an author, done caring, done with everything. Done with life.

My husband got home from work and I curled up with him and cried myself to sleep at 5:30 in the evening. I didn’t care. I didn’t eat, I didn’t bother to attempt to feed anyone else. I just didn’t care. I slept and I cried. And two days later I still didn’t care to eat or do anything to take care of myself. I just cried. And slept some more. Shower? Nope. Exercise? Nope. Brush my hair? Nope.

When I started giving away my important mementos from my life as an author (cleaning house is what I called it, that was a lie, I was giving away things that were most important to me because I didn’t think I would need them anymore) my husband was pretty certain I was in crisis. He repeatedly tried to remind me that nothing in this world was worth hurting myself over and not to make a “permanent solution to a temporary problem”. I didn’t really care about the words, I could barely hear them, I was in my own personal darkness. It was a familiar place, one I’d been deep inside a few times in life. I could curl up there and ignore the world, it hurt a lot less down there. Self-hatred is like a warm familiar old blanket to wrap yourself up in. Loving yourself is much harder.

Quick little backstory: In the 8th grade I tried to commit suicide, it’s been a decision that I’ve regretted my entire adult life and one I was grateful wasn’t successful, but as I started giving away my important belongings, making sure my kids knew how to take care of themselves, and all that stuff I started to remember the feeling I had back then when I had made my attempt I thought “Nothing will hurt anymore”. This time the same thought came roaring back in my head “nothing will hurt anymore”, but I also kept trying to remind myself that my kids and husband need me so I told myself I was fine, they are my anchor so of course, I wouldn’t do anything…because they need me…And then I had the very sobering thought “all those people who’ve ended their lives had anchors too and one day those anchors stopped being enough to hold them together.”

At the core of my depression is feeling like a failure, but not everyone’s depression is the same, some people are highly successful people and yet they are still depressed. Everyone is different. Everyone has different triggers. Mine is failure and feeling alone. I am always alone here, and the feeling of failure is never far from my thoughts.

I have no external pressure to succeed. It’s a pressure my brain puts on itself. My husband is willing to do whatever it takes to help me succeed, but all I see is that I’m dragging my one-income family into debt in my attempts to be an author. And while my husband tries to remind me that we are still getting by it doesn’t always feel like it. My brain equates success with being worth loving. Not being worth loving just because you exist. My brain tells me that unless I’ve achieved something I’m worthless, which is probably something I picked up very early in life from my dad. He was only ever proud of me if I had done something amazing in art class or if I’d won an award, but that was the only time I had worth. Unfortunately, those are the lessons some of us carry with us into adulthood.

After much prompting and a growing fear in the back of my mind, I went ahead and made an appointment with my doctor. We talked. I ranted and raged and cried, she hugged me, and sent me on my way with a prescription for an antidepressant.

And so, that is where I am at. I’m not sure where I’m going, what will happen, but I know I don’t like it here in the darkness anymore. I don’t like hurting myself. I don’t like scaring my family. I don’t like feeling the way I do about writing. I don’t like the stewing anger. And most of all I don’t like feeling alone. But I also know I have to work hard to fix myself and make this darkness disappear and if it takes antidepressants to help me do that then that is what I will do.

I’m taking my doctor’s advice and doing what makes me happy at the moment. If I am happy just doing art, then I will do art. Currently, I am working on some plastic canvas, working a lot with vinyl and heat transfers, working on book covers, and trying to keep my mind busy so that it can’t wander down that dark path and get lost in my depression. I’m reading, but not craft/writing books, I’m reading Undertow by Michael Buckley and so far, I’m enjoying just reading for the sake of escape instead of trying to master AMS ads or the newest marketing trend, or a new way to structure a story.

And I’m taking my new meds, religiously. Because the bottom line is, I don’t want to go anywhere, I just want the pain to stop, I just want to feel normal (whatever that feels like). I want to be happy. I want to feel excited again. And at the end of the day, I want to still want to write and publish. But I’m taking it one day at a time.

**UPDATE**

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One month on my new medications and I’m feeling so-so. My doctor said they like to see your mood improve by 50% within a month, I’m not at 50%, but maybe closer to 25-30%. Since I’m not quite to the level the doc wants me at she’s upped my dosage and I go back in another month.

I never did go back to get my wrist looked at but I’ve been out of my brace for a few weeks not and it only occasionally gives me trouble and when it does I put the brace back on and take it easy. I’ve written a few hundred words, but nothing significant. I’m trying to stay optimistic that I will get back to writing because I still have stories popping up in my head. So that’s encouraging. I’m still isolated, but there’s nothing I can really do about that seeing as how I live in no man’s land and have no friends here. I did travel up to the Springs two weekends ago to visit my partner in crime (writing partner) and do a convention which really did help my mood a lot more than anything else has.

Support from friends and family, my animals, nature, and art therapy have been the best things for my mental health this past month along with taking my medications every day. Self-care is still hard, but I’m trying. Accepting my limitation and allowing myself to fail is harder but I’m working on it. All I know is that everything in my past has made me stronger, I’ve struggled and fought for everything I have, I’ve clawed away at life until my fingers bled and I’ve survived. I will keep fighting because I don’t want to go anywhere. I love the beauty in life, I love my kids, my husband, I love finding magic all around me, and I want to enjoy it for many more years so if that means I have to ask for help, even when I’m tired of asking or don’t think anyone will care, then that is what I will keep doing.

I love creating, it is my passion. Writing, art, design, anything that lets me express my ideas is what I love to do, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let this dark cloud of depression rob me of that.

Lastly, while I struggle with this, I also know I am very fortunate to have the people around me who pick me up when I am down. And I appreciate them and all that they do. I am also extremely lucky that there are people, programs, and organizations out there to help me as well. If you are suffering from depression, if you feel off but can’t put your finger on what is going on, if you are in crisis and are thinking about harming yourself, PLEASE reach out for help.

Here are a few resources if you need to talk to someone, these people are here to help, they won’t judge you, they understand what you are going through.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number

1-800-273-8255

Better Help (online counseling)

https://www.betterhelp.com/

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My Writing Life: Novella Challenge

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I’m issuing myself a challenge and I’m making it public as an added kick to the butt. Want to join me? Feel free to comment here, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Challenge: Write a Novella in 7 days

Start Date: May 27, 2018

End Date: June 3, 2018

I’m going to spend today plotting, nothing super detailed, but I at least need a jumping point. Over on Facebook, I’m going to keep track of my word counts, how the day is progressing, what is happening when I’m failing, and how I’m succeeding.

I’ve lost so many hours to all the drama and chaos going on with the indie romance world right now with lawsuits and trademarks, that it’s affected my mood and if my mood is funky I get zero words written. So this is my attempt at blocking out all the negative and getting into writing on the daily again. If this goes well I’m hoping to institute what works for my every day writing to try to knock out a few novellas I have planned for release this year. But this project will just be a one-off, something brand new, I don’t know what will ever come of it. I just wanted to start something from scratch so that it’s truly untouched from the beginning instead of doing this challenge with something I’ve already written a couple of chapters for.

Working Title: Novella Project (LMAO So original, I know. It’s the best I could come up with)

Word Count: 20-30,000

Average Daily Word Count: 3,500

Distractions:

  1. Summer Vacation + Summer School
  2. Heat
  3. Social Media
  4. Nowhere to write in relative peace and quiet
  5. Interruptions by extended family members
  6. Really, really, really wanting to be floating in the lake on an innertube and sipping ice tea.

Motivations:

  1. Another book under my belt
  2. Satisfaction of completing a project
  3. Being held accountable by making it public

What do I get if I win (against myself and my inherent procrastination)? Hmmm. Maybe a nice dinner and a day spent out at the lake with that big glass of ice tea.

Want to join me? In the comments leave the following information and I’ll tag you every morning and evening in my beginning and ending posts.

Working Title:

Total Word Count:

Average Daily Word Count Goal:

Distractions:

Motivations:

What will you win if you complete the challenge?

Now I’m going to get to plotting and start prepping for tomorrow. Remember to stay hydrated and have snacks on hand. A hangry writer tends to kill everyone off and leads to a very short book.

Blog Tour: Domesticated Velociraptors Anthology

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Domesticated Velociraptors

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What would the world be like if you could hire Velociraptor rides for your daughter’s birthday, race them through jungles, or buy them at the local pet store? Fourteen authors from around the world delve into the prospect of domesticated Velociraptors in these stories full of adventure, wonder, and possibilities. Come explore realities where Velociraptors protect the land, take over kingdoms, and get tamed by grandmothers in the second anthology from the Midnight Writers.

Get your own copy of Domesticated Velociraptors: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZLQBEX

 

 

The Midnight Writers

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The Midnight Writers is a writing group whose goal is to help authors become better writers. They met during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and have since started producing an annual anthology, and started a podcast where they interview authors and share writing advice, particularly for the newer writer. Get more information on their website, http://MidnightWritersSociety.com, on Facebook (http://Facebook.com/TheMidnightWriters), and Twitter @MidnightScribes.

 

 

Character Profile: The Striga from Sacrifice

(These character profiles are just a little something I’ve done from the prospective of an organization that makes a brief appearance in Sacrifice and will have a much larger presence in upcoming books in the series. I’ve take great care to not include any spoilers, but if I’ve missed any I apologize in advance.)File folder with blank label for text

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Organization: Striga Coven of the Southwest

Known Names: Arveda Corinthia, Meredith, Kara, Josephine, Adaline, Chloe
Sex: Female
Age: Unknown
Designation: Magick Users
Hair: Varies
Eyes: Varies
Description: Several reports state that the Striga can transform into large humanoid-like birds of prey. The Order has been unable to confirm these reports. Other sources claim that this is simply one of many illusions that the Striga use to frighten and intimidate humans.

Allies: Nico Lynch, Abigail Stine, Lobo (Last name unknown), Alexander Hardcastle, Nefarious Stevens
Enemies: John of Patmos, Rosalie Dei Caduti, Gabriel
Personal Motto: A Striga bows to no man.
Weapon of choice: Magick, preferably fire or electricity

Important information from The Order of Eternal Mercy:
The Striga, and most importantly their leader/mother Arveda, are ruthless magick users who see men as nothing more than walking/talking ATMs. Arveda’s plans have yet to be revealed to The Order of Eternal Mercy, but we are keeping tabs on several of their coven at the moment.
Most of the women live in Dusk, NM and are currently working with the excommunicated priest, Nico Lynch, and his accomplice, Abigail Stine, to stop the out flow of demons who are threatening mankind’s existence. Although as we’ve seen in the past Arveda has been known to double cross even her closest ally if it benefits her and her coven.

**Learn more about the Striga in Sacrifice (Revelations, Book One) by Mia Bishop available now on Amazon**

If you’ve read Sacrifice and would like to leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon the links listed below:
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2aiZBT1
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2a5mA7l 

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I spend most of my time in my comfy little corner of the internet. You can find me at
Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/M1FxZq
Twitter: http://bit.ly/1dZUlBG
Google+: http://bit.ly/1eIm6xW
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Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1l3taeD
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1mVlgoC
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Feel free to message me on Facebook or Twitter, I’d love to hear what you think of Abby and Nico’s story!

If you’d like to stay up to date on my new releases, updates, and giveaways please subscribe to my monthly newsletter, the link is in the side bar or you can <click here>

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Cover for Sacrifice

I finally have a cover and everything is in the bag and ready to go. Sacrifice is available for pre-order (for $1.99) and goes live on August 18, 2016 on Amazon!

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Sacrifice Cover by Soxsational Cover Art

Sacrifice (Revelations, Book One) by Mia Bishop

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Pre-Order Now: http://amzn.to/2a5mA7l

Available: August 18, 2016

Blurb:

In the New Mexico desert evil is stirring. A lost man must protect everything he holds dear from the oncoming storm and a mysterious woman is the key.

A decade after being forced out of the priesthood, Nico Lynch spends his days drinking himself into an early grave and his nights hunting demons. His world is turned upside down when he is asked to help a local Striga Coven.

Abby shouldn’t have survived, but she did and that’s turning out to be one hell of a problem for Nico. The world he lives in is black and white. There has always been a clear definition between good and evil, right and wrong. Every moment he spends with Abby challenges him to see the world differently.

Mysterious forces have brought them together, pitting them against a demon army. Nico will either be the savior of mankind or the catalyst of the apocalypse and Abby’s fate rests in his hands.

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Abby and Nico from Sacrifice by Mia Bishop

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Meri from Sacrifice by Mia Bishop

Pre-Order: http://amzn.to/2a5mA7l

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2aiZBT1

 

Pre-Order: Sacrifice by Mia Bishop (and Update)

2x6_bookmarkI’ve had another set-back with releasing Sacrifice, but as it turns out the set-back ended up being beneficial. I had planned on releasing it at the end of June, but a few weeks ago I threw out my back and ended up with a pinched sciatic nerve. The first week was unbearable. I wasn’t able to do anything and was sick from the pain. The thought of sitting in my chair and working on edits was the last thing on my mind. Week two was shaping up to be worse, but I managed to get in to an acupuncturist and by the time I left after the first session my pain had greatly diminished (but it was still painful). This caused me to run behind in my deadline of getting my manuscript to my editor for final edits.

After 3 sessions with the acupuncturist I am now able to sit for about 20 minutes at a time, so editing it getting back under way. But there is no way I’d be able to meet my June 30th deadline, so after much thought and discussion with my writing partner A.L. Kessler, I took some time to step back, and realized that I needed to let go of this idea of releasing in June and roll with the punches.

I pushed it almost a full 60 days back and this gives me time to carefully finish a couple of scenes that needed to be added, get it to my editor-and give her time enough to do the final edits, it also gives me time to get my cover, start a Thunderclap campaign, make Sacrifice available for pre-order, and do some proper marketing. It also allows me time to save money for a bit of swag for readers and also I can run a couple of giveaways while I wait.

So here is my big news, Sacrifice is now available for pre-order on Amazon. I’m doing a pre-order sale so if you order it between now and August 17th you’ll get it for $1.99. The book goes live on August 18th and the price will go up.

Here’s a couple of things I’d like to leave you with:

      1. Release Date: August 18, 2016
      2. ARC’s will be available in July for anyone who is interested in them.
      3. Sacrifice pre-order sale on Amazon only starting today! <Click here>
      4. I’m running a Facebook giveaway on my author page this week to give someone a 99¢ ebook on me. (Amazon GC)
      5. I have book trailer out! Here it is:
      6. I’ll be announcing new gift card giveaways on my Facebook Author Page and in my newsletter so don’t forget to subscribe to both.

Thanks for all of the support! I really appreciate it!

Revelations Update

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Sacrifice is in the hands of Beta Readers now. I had some amazing people offer to read this story over before it hits final edits and I’m so grateful for their help. I sent off the files this weekend and so far things look like they are staying on schedule.

Since I’m waiting for the feedback from my BRs I’m spending my free time working on a marketing plan, planning my release day, and trying to keep up on social media while also trying to do a crash course in InDesign and formatting.

Other than that, there isn’t much to report. I thought I’d post a couple of teasers I have for Sacrifice just to fill the time until the release.

Enjoy!

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Sacrifice (Revelations Book One) by Mia Bishop

Young woman holding a human heart

Sacrifice (Revelations Book One) by Mia Bishop